Material Love: Manuscript Culture in Prison Amoureuse and Carcel de Amor.
This study examines the use of manuscript text in two medieval literary portrayals of love relationships in which male protagonists are trapped in "prisons of love." The works were written approximately a century apart: Jean Froissart's fourth and penultimate dit (narrative poem), the Prison amoureuse (1372-72), hereafter Prison, and Diego de San Pedro's (ca. 1437-ca. 1498) Carcel de amor (Carcel below). (6) Prison and Carcel treat love and the trauma of wooing, waiting, and rejection either as something having been or still being experienced, or as a topos in written and oral communication. Both have an epistolary structure in which an intimate relationship between a man and a woman or between two male friends, each in love with his respective lady, is encouraged or stymied through letters coordinated by or exchanged between the two men, and occasionally between the lover and the beloved. In the French case, the letters celebrate love and successfully facilitate the love quest of at least one of the lovesick men and a friendship between the two male writing companions, the poet-narrator Flos and his patron and correspondent Rose. In the Spanish case, however, the letters end up defaming the beloved Laureola, killing the lover Leriano, and greatly disappointing his male companion, the Auctor.
Beyond readily apparent thematic parallels and shared narrative elements, Prison and Carcel have two important points of contact that also serve as a means to examine their unique aspects. The first is the importance of male companionship in consoling the imprisoned lover; the second is that both works are comprised of the exchange of manuscript text and comment on the making, or rather the dissolution, of the very romances. In both romances, the production of handwritten documents is a physical means for an ailing male lover and a male companion to cope with the absence of the beloved. While in the Spanish romance the male relationship and letters are unsuccessful in bringing about a positive connection with the lady--thus underscoring the beloved's strength and the ineffectiveness of men--the writing and relationship between the male protagonists in the French case is positive and literally constructive, while women serve primarily as an excuse for literary exchanges between men. Prison and Carcel both present a belief that material text can effect change even when its owners or other associated parties are not present. Love and sentiment, both positive and negative, are the reasons for the very existence of manuscript text in Prison and Carcel.
Both works also possess what Laurence De Looze, discussing Prison, has called a "self-conscious awareness" of their materiality and an awareness that the material texts exchanged are being transformed into a book. (7) An attention to the materiality of text and textual production has long been observed in Prison, and even more profoundly in the work frequently cited as its primary inspiration, Guillaume de Machaut's Voir Dit (1362-65). (8) Sarah Jane Williams has argued that the Voir Dit not only thematizes the process of life becoming literature, but also reflects on the less poetic yet equally crucial process of manuscript production. (9) The material aspect of Carcel has attracted less direct attention, despite the effectiveness with which the elaborate allegory that begins the work along with the writing, exchange, and reading of letters produce a sense of materiality. Many important studies have focused on the work's generic discourses, whether allegorical, epistolary, or chivalric, as well as the linguistic features and hermeneutic potential of the letters. (1)" In her forthcoming book, Emily Francomano does explore materiality in Carcel in detail, arguing that sixteenth-century readers of Carcel found more than just texts within the work; they found material texts and the portrayal of a lively and even dangerous manuscript culture. (11) It is thus particularly interesting to place Prison and Carcel in dialog with one another, in that while they both evince an emotional and in one case productive manuscript culture in which manuscripts were used for used for purposes that included, but were not limited to, reading, Carcel did so in the age of print and on the cusp of the early modern period. As Gomez-Bravo has noted of texts that date to the second half of the fifteenth century, the materiality of text is linked to pen, ink, paper, and seeing, as opposed to the oral medieval reception. (12) Carcel's letters remind us of the late medieval and early modern uses of manuscript text, including clandestine and defamatory purposes, and reveal continuities between medieval and early modern manuscript cultures.
It is through the use of material texts in Prison and Carcel in intellectual and talismanic ways that a close relationship between the male protagonists, rather than between lover and beloved, develops. Whereas the metaphorical love prison in Prison, which is synonymous with the book, is "fair and amorous" and the tenor of the texts exchanged positive, Carcel's allegorical prison is menacing and very real: "a tangible reality," as Brownlee notes. (13) Carcel's Leriano is imprisoned by his love and his inability to read the signs of his lover, while Laureola is trapped by her resistance and the poor adaptability of the male figures around her. Whereas Leriano may gain some benefit from the notion of the prison as a means of concretizing his feeling overwhelmed, in the end the book and its unsympathetic text itself become a prison, a very lethal one. Through their love prisons and the experience of their imprisoned male protagonists, Prison and Carcel are literary depictions of the range and permutations of attitudes, tastes, and practices that fall under manuscript culture as I have defined it here, including successful and failed uses, both hermeneutic and talismanic.
INTELLECTUAL MATERIAL: EASY AND TROUBLED READS
From the start of both Carcel and Prison, it is evident that letters and intimate if complicated relationships between men are central. The exchange and attempts at interpretation of material text has two very different outcomes, however. In Carcel, Leriano and Laureola's strained communications are framed in terms of error; Leriano begins and ends the work in pain. At the start of the romance, the Auctor is passing through the Sierra Morena on his return home from fighting and encounters the lovesick Leriano led in chains by a hairy, personified Desire, the chief officer of Love. Desire carries a steel shield on his left arm and a statue of a woman radiating fire carved from stone in his right hand. Leriano's pleas convince the Auctor to help him obtain a sign of love from Laureola, daughter of King Gaulo and the heiress to the throne of Macedonia. The Auctor goes to court to convey that Laureola is the cause of Leriano's suffering and impassioned state. He persuades Laureola to send Leriano a letter, which inspires Leriano to attempt to see her in person. The signs that each exhibit upon seeing the other lead to the jealous Persio's false accusation that Laureola and Leriano are having an affair. This leads to Laureola's being imprisoned and sentenced to death by the King, her father. When attempts to persuade the King to spare Laureola's life prove unsuccessful, Leriano assembles an army to fight the king and save Laureola's life. After a battle with many casualties, the King is convinced of his daughter's innocence. Leriano receives little reward for his efforts, as he is again rejected by Laureola and dies of lovesickness.
Like his character the Auctor, Diego de San Pedro complies with a request that involves the creation, editing, or delivery of text. Carcel's prologue tells us that it was undertaken at the request of the soldier and nobleman Don Diego Hernandez de Cordoba, who had asked Diego de San Pedro to compose a work in the style of something else he had written and sent to Lady Marina Manuel, great-granddaughter of the well-known Spanish author Don Juan Manuel (1282-1348). Though he complies with the demand of his patron, Diego de San Pedro makes it clear that he writes more out of duty than of choice, deciding that it is better to acquiesce and err than disobey and be free from fault. At the start of Prison, on the other hand, Froissart frames patronage not in terms of error, but in terms of love, in particular loving and assisting in matters of love. In this vein, Prison consists of letters exchanged on the topic of love while each writer is supposedly concurrently in love with a woman. These exchanges eventually lead to the compilation of the texts exchanged as a book. As De Looze has suggested, love in Prison is something with which to engage intellectually, rather than an experience like the painful one in Carcel. Froissart names the God of Love as his inspiration, whose appeals he must oblige. In speaking of the God of Love, Froissart's narrator establishes a definition of service that William Kibler and others have applied to a more real-world patron, Duke Wenceslas of Brabant (1337-1383), a great lover of poetry and himself an amateur poet: (14)
On est tenu par droite honneur D'amer et servir son signeur, Ne on ne se puet escuser Qu'on li doie riens refuser, Corps et biens, avoir et chavance. Dont, a celle fin que m'avance, Amours, qui est mon souverian, (Ne devant li n'ai premerain), Voel servir en tout et par tout. (111-19, 40) (15) [True honor properly requires that one love and serve his lord, and there is no excuse for refusing him anything, neither physical service, nor goods, nor wealth, nor objects. The God of Love, who is my lord, whom I wish to serve and before whom I have no other, pushes me in this direction. (7-9)]
While this biographical reading has left some scholars unconvinced, it is clear regardless of Wenceslas's involvement that service involves not only the completion of certain acts and the fulfillment of specific requests, but the gifting of material things, which in this passage and the work as a whole takes the form of objects, most especially material text. (16) The impact of material text can thus exceed the realm of hermeneutics. As Froissart's poet-narrator Flos says of one of his virelais to which his lady showed some attention, new things, even when they are perfectly still, entail movement and omnipresence. The presence of a new text not only includes the physical and emotional effects of the material object and its content, but also people's knowledge of and communication about the object's existence:
"S'il est qui fait, il est qui dist." Nouvelete gaires ne gist Ne ne sejourne ne repose: Elle est tele que par tout s'ose Hardiement mettre ou embatre Pour gens couroucier ou esbatre, Car elle a tant de signourie, --En ce point l'avons nous nourrie,-- Que joie ou courous renouvelle Quant elle vient as gens nouvelle. (327-36, 46) ["Saying is doing," as the proverb has it. New things don't just lie still, nor do they hang around, passive and inactive. On the contrary, they have a tendency to be everywhere at once, intruding in order to bother or delight people, since they have such power--I have seen this proven many times--that they can stir up joy or anger each time they come in contact with new people. (19)]
The physical presence of the object is thus not always required for the object or its content to have an impact. At the same time, a present material text can suffer expansion, contraction, or outright fragmentation. Both love prisons nevertheless make clear that news inscribed on a physical support or the written copy of a poem given from one person to another provides concreteness to intangible emotional states, positive or negative. In Prison, the exchange of letters and poems and eventual compilation of a book occurs between Flos and Rose, while their ladies--who remain unnamed throughout the entire work--take a less active role. (17) As Flos says after responding to his patron Rose's initial letter:
Tout ensi com je vous devise, Sans mettre terme ne devise, Rescripsi je moult liement, Par bon et droit aliement, Que d'or en avant voel tenir A Rose, qui voelt devenir Mon compagnon et mon secre. Certes je l'en scai moult gran gre, Car il me donne grant contort. Je soloie penser plus fort Que je ne fai, car par sa vie. Ou ma plaisance est moult ravie, Sui de la mienne solacies Et de tous anois hors sacries. Lors point de nom ne me donnai, Mais une balade ordonnai Selonc ma matere et je di (II le tesmongna puissedi) Que ceste balad servoit A tout ce qu'amours li pourvoit. (745-64, 62-63) (Just as I have recounted it for you, adding neither name nor emblem I very gladly wrote back out of true and sincere comraderie that henceforth I wish to show Rose, who wants to become an intimate and close friend. I am certainly thankful to him for it, for he gives me great consolation. I was accustomed to think more gloomily than I do, because of his life, in which I find such delight I am comforted in my own and my own troubles are assuaged. At the time 1 did not adopt a name but instead set out a ballade drawn from my own experience, and I would say (and he subsequently discovered) that this ballade was quite useful for matters of the heart. (47-49)]
After Flos is consoled upon reading Rose's letter, he hopes to return the favor by providing a letter and lyric (balade) that might have the same soothing and fulfilling effects. For Rose and Floss, material texts such as letters and poetry are not simply symbols of affection or a means to communicate rejection, but serve to deepen their friendship and as conduits to make absent people present. (18) In addition to these more abstract functions, Flos also tells us that the balade fulfills a concrete function (servoit), and a positive one at that. As far as Diego de San Pedro's lover Leriano is concerned, however, material text emphasizes Laureola's inaccessibility and the impossibility that Laureola might ever be present and ready to accept his pleas and affections.
In both Froissart's and Diego de San Pedro's works, the exchange of material text thus definitively impacts matters of the heart, but with very different outcomes. In the Spanish love prison, the correspondence of the lover Leriano and his male confidant the Auctor is divided into sections, each with an independent title. Although not all of the male protagonists' communications are explicitly labeled as letters, which is the case with the correspondence between Leriano and Laureola, epistolary discourse appears frequently in the titles, as in the prepositions employed when sending (response/responds, to, for, etc.). The first major scene of interpretation, and the work's most successful and relatively hopeful hermeneutic experience, involves a highly detailed allegorical love prison. The romance begins with an elaborate ekphrasis of Leriano's lovesick condition, starting with the savage man Desire carrying the figure of a woman mentioned above, and Leriano's own detailed and lengthy ekphrasis of the tower constructed of his emotions, aptly reported by the highly involved Auctor. As opposed to the hermeneutic failures that occur with the material letters that follow, in the allegory everything is neatly interpreted and linked directly to love, even if the Auctor initially tells Leriano that he thinks that the prison results more from diabolic rather than amorous inspiration. The former sort of inspiration is indeed much more fitting taking into account what comes next.
In the Auctor's first commentary on Leriano's gloss of the love prison and declaration of his love for Laureola, it becomes apparent that the Auctor intends to free Leriano from his prison and to serve him with the dedication with which Leriano attempts to serve his resistant beloved. The lines that end the Auctor's first answer recall Flos's response to Rose's request for assistance and company. In both the French and Spanish works, the relationship between the male protagonists is framed using the language of love and devotion, and, in Froissart's work especially, the discourse of patronage. The fidelity between the Auctor and Leriano in Diego de San Pedro's Carcel is clear from the beginning:
Tanta aficion te tengo y tanto me ha obligado amarte tu nobleza, que havria tu remedio por galardon de mis trabajos. Entretanto que vo, deves tenplar tu sentimiento con mi esperanca, porque cuando buelva, si algund bien te truxere, tengas alguna parte biva con que puedas sentillo. (12-13) (19) [I have such great affection for you, and your nobility so much obliges me to love you, that only to relieve your suffering will be reward enough for my labours. While I am away, you must temper your distress with the hope that I offer you, so that when I return, should I bring you some good news, you still have some spark of life left to appreciate it. (12)]
It is the Auctor who initiates contact with Laureola; her response, which threatens the Auctor's life should he continue to facilitate Leriano's pursuit of her, sets the tone for a string of rejections and the association of lovesickness with death. When on the Auctor's advice Leriano decides to write Laureola himself, Leriano tells her that he will die if he does not receive her affection. The Auctor follows with a plea to Laureola and another affirmation of Leriano's pathetic and sickly state to which she again responds negatively, this time evoking the risk that her communication with the Auctor and Leriano pose to her honor. It thus quickly becomes apparent in the Spanish love prison that the Auctor is thoroughly entrenched in the affair and that by the time he has received the second letter from Laureola, he himself shows signs of lovesickness, not because he is in love with Laureola, but because he loves the idea of succeeding in mitigating Leriano's suffering. (20) As testament to the Auctor's involvement in the relationship, in Laureola's response, she complains not of Leriano's misguided ideas and the passions that cause him to suffer so greatly, but of those of the Auctor:
Por dos cosas me culpo de haverme tanto detenido contigo: la una porque la calidad de la platica me dexa muy enojada, y la otra porque podras pensar que huelgo de hablar en ella y creeras que de Leriano me acuerdo; de lo cual no me maravillo, que como las palabras sean imagen del coracon, iras contento por lo que juzgaste y levaras buen esperanca de lo que deseas. (22) [For two reasons I blame myself tor spending so long with you: one because of the nature of our conversation, which greatly annoys me, and the other because it is possible that you may think that I enjoy speaking of such matters and may believe that I do cherish memories of Leriano. This would not surprise me, for, since words are the reflections of the heart, you will depart content with what you concluded from them, and will carry away the hope that you may attain what you desire. (21)]
The contact that the seemingly well-intentioned confidant and go-between has with the letters is not positive or even neutral, however, but underscores both the dangers of material correspondence and the ineffectiveness of men as readers. The peril resides not only in the misinterpretation of a letter by the recipient and in the potentially unsympathetic judgment of anyone who might intercept it, but also in the writer's inability to interpret accurately the situation to which he is responding. In this vein, Laureola anticipates the Auctor's misinterpretation of her letter and in the Auctor's response, his inability to read the signs is confirmed. Nevertheless, despite his difficulty in interpreting both letter and Laureola's signs, the Auctor considers himself fit to give Leriano consolation, revealing a problematic link between hermeneutics, sentiment, and service in the work:
Tanta contusion me ponian las cosas de Laureola, que quando pensava que mas la entendia menos sabia su voluntad; quando tenia mas esperanca, me dava mayor desvio; cuando estava seguro, me ponia mayores miedos; sus desatinos cegavan mi conocimiento. En el recibir la carta me satisfizo; en el fin de su habla me desespero. No sabia que camino siguiese en que esperanca hallase, y como onbre sin consejo partime para Leriano con acuerdo de dark algund consuelo. (22) [Laureola's behavior created such a confusion in my mind that just when I thought I understood her best, i realized I knew nothing of her feelings; just as I held the greatest hopes, she withdrew them furthest from me; just as I gained confidence, she gave me greatest reason to be afraid. The inconsistency of her behavior baffled my understanding. In accepting the letter she fulfilled my highest hopes; in concluding her speech she thrust me into the deepest despair. I knew not which way to turn to find some reason to go on hoping, and it was as a man without counsel to offer that I departed to return to Leriano, resolved to offer him some comfort. (22)]
The Auctor has high hopes when Laureola accepts Leriano's letter, but in listening to her speech after she actually engages with its content, he despairs. This is yet another instance in which material text and interpretation fail to bring about progress for the Auctor and Leriano in the face of Laureola's much stronger resistance. The initial consolation that he receives from Laureola's acceptance of the letter--later undone by her speech--recalls Flos's willingness to reciprocate Rose's desire for friendship. Unlike the writings of Rose and Flos, however, Carcel's letters give neither protagonist any lasting relief after being read, despite interventions on the part of the Auctor in situations that he perceives as particularly detrimental to his and Leriano's cause.
The Auctor's two definitive attempts to redirect the letters such as to influence their interpretation underscore how prone to misdirection material correspondence is and how it can fail to impart a writer's intended meaning. In the first case and the Auctor's only act of writing in the romance, he changes the sender's name on one of Leriano's letters to Laureola in hopes that she might have greater cause to read it. In the second, the Auctor keeps one of Laureola's letters from Leriano, but explains that he does so to ensure that no that further information about communications or other contact between Leriano and Laureola comes to light and to avoid diminishing Leriano's hopes any further. This failure to disclose the letter actually results in Laureola's temporary imprisonment by her own father, based on Persio's accusation. In both instances, the letters produce a negative emotional effect that obscures any potentially helpful message they were intended to impart.
In Carcel, reading just as easily leads to confusion or misinterpretation as to any advancement of the love relationship between Leriano and Laureola or a positive friendship between the two male protagonists. Brownlee and Gerli have noted that this disconnect between word and deed--and I would add between intention and interpretation and between intellect and feeling--is characteristic of romances. Gerli notes that the romances identify and illustrate the dichotomy of word and deed and the chasm between signs and sense:
In this way, they are deeply contemporary, and, as they revel in the portrayal of the problematical ambiguities of signification, they inevitably speak to our postmodern sensibilities. Through the filter of the language of love, they see the outside, more often than not, fails to conform to the inside and that words are not logically connected to the extralinguistic realities they seek to indicate. (21)
If the letters in Carcel functioned in an ideal manner, Laureola would be praised ("alabada") for helping Leriano, the Author considered a good messenger ("buen mensajero"), and Leriano free ("libre") (15), but none of these functions or states is fulfilled. Instead, Laureola shows herself not merely resistant but more resilient than any of the male characters. The Laureola that Leriano sees is but an image, an object, as Jean Gilkison observed, but as Robert Folger has noted, and as her words and actions demonstrate and Leriano and the Auctor's failure indicates, she is actually real and profoundly illegible, very unlike both the stone statue that Desire holds in his right hand in the Sierra Morena and the expectations of the male figures that surround her. In the Auctor's attempts to engage Laureola in dialogue, he convinces himself that he sees hope in her face and body language, rather than interpreting her words on paper. However, there is silence in both places, which for Gilkison is Laureola's best defense against her appropriation and to avoid her language from becoming a "publically available sign, an image like the imagen feminil, onto which others project their own meaning" (117). At the same time, Leriano deliberately keeps his letter to Laureola brief. He knows that his letters are not particularly welcome and that they stem from a state of sadness; this also keeps with the theory that long letters are suitable only when both sender and recipient are amenable to the conversation (19). The Auctor himself recognizes the contradictory nature of Laureola's signs, as in the passage above, but unfortunately cannot or does not use this awareness to interpret the correspondence in a manner that might actually help Laureola or Leriano, even if that aid came in the form of a more prompt but less lethal demise of the relationship.
In Carcel, letters fail to perform a productive intellectual function from the point of view of the male and female protagonist in other ways as well, including being used to spread lies, as in the case of the jealous and devious knight Persio, who is also in love with Laureola and slanders her by accusing her not only of loving Leriano, but also of seeing him nightly while the king sleeps. At other moments, the content of the letter is true, but the only plausible interpretation is both negative and final, as when Laureola describes in a letter to Leriano her literal imprisonment and the way in which she cannot make any decision regarding his affections without suffering negative consequences. This same letter evinces another failure of communication and any interpretation that could result from that communication, as the Auctor decides not to deliver it to Leriano, withholding it so that no further information about epistolary or other contact between Leriano and Laureola can cause more harm, including harm to Leriano.
While in Carcel persuasive and informative material text often fails to perform a positive or trustworthy hermeneutic function, in Froissart's Prison, interpretation is very effectively applied to the amorous matters treated in lyric and prose literary texts, and commentaries comprise a considerable part of the work. Toward the end of the romance, Rose has a dream that he believes is inspired by his reading of Flos's pseudo-Ovidian story, Pynoteus and Neptisphele, a rewriting and combination of the Pygmalion story with the myth of Pryamus and Thisbe that Flos writes at Rose's request. Rose writes his own text inspired by the dream and in turn asks for Flos's revisions of and commentary on it. Flos then produces two interpretations of the dream so that Rose can choose the one he prefers. Interpretation not only produces intimacy between the male authors but also more and more text, a point that is reinforced in the Pynoteus and Neptisphele story's portrayal of love as Edenic and the result of intellect and active scholarly engagement. Unlike Leriano and the Author's frequent desire for more material text in Carcel, Flos refers to the way in which he is amply supplied with and even protected by clever and amorous writings (1050-53). As Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet has argued, poetry in Prison is abundant and shores up its users; it is "that which arms, it is a stock pile. The poet wants to have at his disposal something he can make use of in a relationship of exchange." (22) His poetry is to be carefully constructed, sometimes gradually, even one piece at a time, then gathered and placed in a safe location or enclosed. (23) Flos says of a virelai that he wrote after an encounter with his beloved and other ladies that he set it aside so that it would not be stolen, since sometimes even a person who would not take a thing that was economically valuable might take a poem (1245-47). On another occasion, Rose sends Flos a virelai in progress that he can continue as he sees fit (Letter 11). In Prison, writings are valued not only because secrecy must be maintained or because the sender and recipient are desperate for love or exculpation, but also because the courtly culture of which Rose and Flos are a part supports textual production, including literary production.
MATERIAL TEXT AS TALISMAN
There is never any doubt in Prison as a whole as to the encouraging effect of the letters and lyrics exchanged between Flos and Rose, to the point that writing has talismanic properties whose value can be activated without actually reading the text. Though writing in the context of seventeenth-century Spain, Fernando Bouza's observations on the purposes of manuscript shed light on the medieval works studied here. Bouza writes that letters were used not only for intellectual purposes, but also for very personal and even irrational ends:
Sin duda, hay muchas y buenas razones para reverenciar la escritura como instrumento de la memoria, el conocimiento y la comunicacion, asi como para saludar la escritofilia e, incluso, compartir la bibliolatria... No obstante, una parte, no menor, de la creation literaria y del pensamiento contemporaneos podria explicarse a la luz de una voluntad mas o menos expresa de recuperar algo--juegos, suenos, sombras, extravios--de aquel estado originario que la escritura racionalizada habria ayudado a superar... Tambien cabria... desvelar lo que en ella tambien hay de instrumento de olvido e incomunicacion. (24) [Without a doubt, there are many very good reasons for venerating writing as an instrument of memory, knowledge, and communication, as well as to acknowledge those addicted to letters and to indulge bibliolatry. However, another part of literary production and of contemporary thought can be explained by a desire to recuperate something, games, dreams, shadows, loss, of that original state that rational writing would have tried to overcome... It is also important... to reveal writing's role as an instrument of forgetting and lack of communication.]
In Prison, though the writings exchanged do effectively communicate their messages, they do not simply serve to convey meaning. They also perform noncommunicative functions like those Bouza describes, including protection, and provide benefits and effects such as consolation that can result from magic. Flos describes Rose's writing as capable not only of conveying new ideas, but also of reanimating existing thoughts:
Car a savoir forment desire Tout ce dont il me poet escrire, Tant pour la matere nouvelle Que pour ce qu'il me renouvelle Pluiseurs ymaginations Que j'ai sur tels intentions; Et disorient sus ceste entente Les lettres dont je me contente. (3437-44, 148) [I don't wait a second because I am so anxious to know everything he may have written me, in part because he may tell of something new but just as much in the hope that he stirs my imagination (his writing revivifies several of my imaginations...), which had already been provoked. (199)]
Several scenes in Prison evince extralinguistic capabilities of material text that evoke Frazer's classic The Golden Bough's principles of analogy (like produces like) and contiguity (things once in contact influence each other even at a distance), which form the basis for sympathetic or imitative magic. Related to these principles are the laws of similarity and contact (contagion):
The former principle [analogy] may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter [contiguity] the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not. (25)
According to the law of contact, any object, including a letter or material lyric, can act on a person or thing at a distance as long as there was previous contact with that person or thing. With regard to similarity, there is also power in the reciprocal exchange of physical letters, because like produces like. Exchanging poetry and other amorous texts is not simply about becoming mutually aware of content, having pieces to perform, or even having a material manifestation of loving words, but about having the opportunity to keep in close proximity something that touched the hand or body of the admired and, most importantly, possessing something to guard or to give away.
A proximity to material text occurs in a moment in Froissart's romance when Rose writes Flos a letter in which he quotes the letter that he sends to his beloved. To Rose's dismay, his lady does not reply, and the paper she returns to him is in fact his original letter. Rose relates to Flos that after placing his rejected letter back in his shirt pocket, he nevertheless presses on and sings a virelai at the request of two noble ladies that he then passes on to Flos. The virelai performs several functions, constituting at once a gift for Flos, an impetus for Flos to send a lyric to Rose, and entertainment for Flos's lady and other maidens. It also functions as a talisman. As Thomas Beebee has noted, letters in epistolary fiction are never simply a means to communicate; while directly and often deeply impacting their senders and recipients, they affect and link many parties:
The interest of much epistolary fiction derives neither from the letters suitability as a vehicle for narrative, nor from its ability to mirror the soul; instead, the letter 'exceeds' its role as narrative vehicle and becomes itself the object of interest. Letters are kissed, wept upon, eaten, held to the bosom, and caressed in place of the lovers who sent them. Indeed, cathection on the letter can be considered a precondition of epistolary fiction, since the reader's libidinal energy is voyeuristically invested in the fictional letters. (26)
Both Flos and Rose keep amorous writings on their person. Whereas with Rose it is difficult to identify a specific reason other than convenience for keeping writings close, Floss carrying of Rose's first and third letters and corresponding songs in a pouch at his waist suggests that their appeal and power exceed simply aesthetic value. Their value could even be equal to or greater than money, as the lover might keep his money in the same place. (27) A group of maidens and his lady steal the texts, provoking a scuffle that ends in a separation of the private prose from the songs. Whether the episode is interpreted as having playfully erotic or violent sexual undertones that evoke castration or rape, it is apparent that the poetry, while treating intimate feelings, is either acceptably public or irresistible enough to trump politeness. (28) The letters, on the other hand, should be private, as Flos complains, and as his lady realizes, when she decides to ransom him for the most beautiful song he has ever created or learned from someone else:
Quant parties les eut parmi: [much less than] Tenes vo part, vechi le nostre. [much greater than] Je respondi: [much less than] Au plaisir vostre! [much greater than] J'eus les lettres, et les cacons Cheirent en leurs parecons. La furent monstrees et dittes Et copiies et escriptes En grant joie et en grant revel. (1190-96, 79) [When she had them away she said to me: "Take your share; these are ours." I answered: "At your pleasure!" I had the letters, and the songs fell to the ladies. Then they were handed around and read aloud and copied and written out with great joy and merrymaking because whatever is new always pleases (77).]
In contrast to the secret letters, the sharing of the lyric with a larger audience, apart from any jealousy that the singing of songs of other suitors might inflict on the lover, produces fame for the poet and provides entertainment for many. Poetry is portrayed as contagious, easily reproduced, and pleasure driven, while the letters are intimate and even serious, yet not morosely so, as is primarily the case in Carcel. In Prison, both poetry and letters also shore up and constitute capital for those who hold them, including parties other than the sender and the recipient.
In both works, notions of sender, recipient, and third parties are tied closely to material text, chiefly because the activities and development of the male protagonists depend on contact with writing, even if, in the Auctor's case, this contact is through delivery rather than composition. In Prison, Flos relates that in addition to Rose's compositions, he also keeps others' works on hand for his amusement (1050-53). (29) It is nevertheless Rose's correspondence, at least on this occasion, that he keeps at his waist. Recalling Rose's keeping his lady's letter in his shirt after she returns it to him, Flos not only desires to receive written contact from Rose, but also wishes to be in close contact with both his and his female beloved's pieces of writing, valuing especially highly the letter in which Rose declared himself his friend (807). Rose, likewise, even after receiving the affections of his lady, still turns to Flos for companionship and amorous texts. After reading Flos's mythological story of Pynoteus and Neptisphele, Rose has a dream and pens his reaction. He shows it first to his lady, but then sends it immediately to Flos, requesting his help in editing and interpretation. Although it would seem that Rose returns to Flos primarily because the latter is, as Rose says, an expert in literary matters and because Rose requests that their letters, essays, ballads, and virelais be made into a coherent, "single" volume, it is also the case that without Flos's intervention and input--his intellectual and physical touch--the lyric is incomplete. Rose is in essence attracted to Flos's material word. Like Pynoteus, who uses a laurel leaf as a totem in praying to Phoebus Apollo, god of knowledge, poetry, and the sun, to give Neptisphele life, Flos's words and interpretations are a sign of friendship and emerging intimacy both between Rose and his lady and between the male protagonists.
At the end of Prison, Rose requests that Flos compile all of the letters and poems from a six-month period into a book. Flos's explanation of his conception of the book, in a gesture that goes well beyond placating a patron, frames the project as a mutually beneficial venture. The book is a testimony of both of their experiences--and for Flos, an ongoing experience--in the prison of love. Without the protagonists' mutual plight and need for each other's companionship and even intimate, impassioned textual exchanges, the book Prison would have never materialized:
Vous qui estes cause et matere d'avoir che empris et le livre commenchiet--car de moy meismes je n'euisse eu le premier sentement dou faire ne del emprendre, se vous ne men euissies esmeu--di ensi que vous sejournes et demores en prison... Et se je, qui sui rudes et ignorans en tous afaires, pooie estre cause, com petit quelle fust, que, ou nom de moi et par le vostre discretion et compagnie, chils livresfust appelles la Prison amoureuse, je le vorroie a mon pooir aidier a soustenir; ja soit ce cose que en ceste prison je languis attendans le grasce de ma dame.... (Letter 12, 171) [You who have been both the impetus and the source for having undertaken to write this book--for on my own I would have never have had any idea how to carry out such a project, had you not pushed me to it--you, I say, have been a prisoner and have lived in a prison... Moreover if someone wanted to view me, rustic and ignorant as I am in all matters, as being in some measure, however tiny, responsible for this book being called The Prison of Love in my name and allowing for your companionship, I would do my best to support the following thesis: that there is the fact that I languish in this prison, awaiting my lady's grace.... (237)]
Flos frames his time in the prison of love in the language of literary patronage, but both he and Rose are patrons of love and subjects of their ladies' wills and hearts, differentiated primarily by the fact that Rose delights in the prison while Flos languishes in his, if much more pleasantly than Leriano. Flos tells Rose toward the end of the romance that he still awaits his lady's grace. (30) The romance ends with a reference to Flos's service and payment, which may suggest that Flos's efforts were motivated primarily by the need to fulfill the request of his employer, but can also be read as an affirmation of the parallel roles of his lady and Rose; he says he has written the book in both their honor (3894). The soft line between lady and male companion, in terms of attention devoted, and the difficulty of determining who the third party precisely is, is evident in Rose's lady's interest in Flos's love compositions. Her interest in the writing is motivated not only by content, although her desire to edit it certainly suggests that she is interested in engaging with it intellectually, but also by Rose's dedication to the writings and their physical presence:
Il avint asses briefment apries vos lettres envoues et recheutes que ma dame le mes trouva lisant; si me pria et bien acertes que elle les peuist veoir. Et je qui sui tenus de descendre a che qui agreable li est, li delivrai; si les lisi depuis a son loisir et les a gardees un grant tamps; et l'autre jour avint que, quant je les veus ravoir, elle le mes accorda dou rendre, mes que la copie l'en demorast; et je li respondi que elle en fessist a sa volenti; si les fist copiier et moult li plaisent au lire et au regarder. (Letter 11, 168) [Not long after you had sent, and I had received, your letter, my lady came across me reading it. She pleaded with me at some length to let her see it. Now, I being bound to accede to whatever she finds pleasing, handed it over to her. She then read it at her leisure and held on to the letter for quite some time. Then the other day I wanted to get it back, she said she would return it to me on the condition that she could keep a copy for herself. I told her she should do as she pleased, and then she had it copied and currently takes great delight in reading it and looking it over. (232-33)]
The third party in this case is not properly Flos, as he enters the scene in a physically tangible and fulfilling way through writing, prior to Rose's beloved. Neither is the beloved the third party, however, as she has complete access to whatever she wishes of Rose's belongings, including Flos's writings. Recalling, however, Rose's direct copying in a letter to Flos of one of the notes he wrote to his lady and her reaction, Flos also has detailed knowledge of Rose's exchanges with his lady. Both this and the earlier example underline the capability of the physical letter not only to raise interest and convey sentiments, but also to communicate the existence of interested bodies. The lady here is not necessarily jealous of the letter that arrives, but certainly wishes to determine precisely who or what has demanded her lovers attention.
The letters, the lover, and the male companion play an opposite role in the Spanish love prison. As in the case of Prison, however, material text is used in a talismanic way, but without any benefit. The book and Leriano's frustrated bid for Laureola's love culminate in the lover's literal consumption of the letters he receives from Laureola through the hands of the Auctor. Leriano is on his deathbed as a result of his failure to receive any positive written contact from his beloved and his inability to be sufficiently fulfilled by his male companion, as Flos certainly is, even if only temporarily. In an act that has been interpreted variously as mimicry of Eucharistic ritual, as evidence of a more profane belief in the material letters, and as a reference to profane sources, Leriano dampens and then consumes the letters. He eats not only his beloved's words, but also, in essence, the book, including the mediations of the Auctor who facilitated the sending and delivery of those letters, the menacing allegorical love prison that is essentially inseparable from the reality of the narrative, the chivalric episodes relating to Laureola's rescue from an imprisonment that her father orders, and all the letters; these are narrative details that the Auctor relates to the readers. (31) Although Leriano can scarcely bring himself to think of tearing up the letters, in the end he must in do so order to maintain Laureola's reputation and, perhaps and to a lesser degree, to have some satisfaction in what he was able to achieve in his otherwise-failed courtship of Laureola. After a lengthy deathbed defense of women in which Leriano presents fifteen attacks on those who criticize women, twenty reasons why men are obligated to them, and proofs of their inherent goodness, Leriano demonstrates his commitment to the pieces of paper that came to represent the most tangible presence of his beloved that he was able to obtain:
Quando pensava rasgallas, pareciale que ofenderia a Laureola en dexar perder razones de tanto precio; quando pensava ponerlas en poder de algun suyo, temia que serian vistas, de donde para quien las embio se esperava peligro. Pues tomando de sus dudas lo mas seguro, hizo traer una copa de agua, y hechas las cartas pedacos echolas en ella; y acabado esto, mando que le sentasen en la cama, y sentado, bevioselas en el agua y assi quedo contenta su voluntad; y llegada ya la ora de su fin, puestos en mi los ojos, dixo: 'Acabados son mis males,' y assi, quedo su muerte en testimonio de su fe. (79) [When he thought of tearing them up, it seemed to him that it would be an insult to Laureola to allow such precious words to be thrown away. When he though of entrusting them to one of his servants, he feared that they might be read, whereby she who had sent them might be endangered. So, taking the surest way amidst these doubts, he called for a cup of water, tore the letters into pieces, and dropped them in the water, and when he had done this he ordered them to sit him up in his bed, and when he was sitting, he drank them in the water, and rested content. And as the moment of death was now upon him, he fixed his eyes upon me, and said: 'My suffering are ended.' And so his death stood witness to his constancy. (81-82)]
The possibility that the Auctor might actually aid Leriano becomes increasingly unlikely as the romance progresses, to the point that after the Auctor delivers Laureola's final letter, he essentially advises Leriano to succumb to his sadness and die. Leriano's consumption of the letters is a final effort to achieve a sense of closeness, both physical and emotional, to Laureola. His drinking is also, however, consuming what he and the Auctor have constructed, a physical if temporary testament to their failed pursuit of Laureola's compassion and the possibility that she might be as consistent as the stone figurine he carries in the Sierra Morena. Leriano's dying and dead body is a prison itself, a place where the letters reside without any hope of bringing about anything to do with love but which does effectively protect Laureola's reputation. It is noteworthy that although Leriano looks his confidant in the eyes upon his death, appropriately since his failed love quest could not have taken place at all had the Auctor not been present, he does not trust him to keep the letters safe.
As in the case of the keeping of letters on one's person in Prison, while it is not certain that Leriano's consumption of the letters is a conscious use of magic, theories of magic do shed light on his actions. At the close of the work, he has exhausted all of his options and uses material text in ways that lie well outside purely rational thought. In his classic study, Magic, Science and Religion, and Other Essays, Bronislaw Malinowski described this appeal to irrationality as the precursor to magic:
... Instincts and emotions, and practical activities, lead man into impasses where gaps in knowledge and the limitations of his early power of observation and reason betray him... [man] reacts to this in spontaneous outbursts... rudimentary modes of behavior and rudimentary beliefs... are engendered. Magic fixes upon these beliefs and rudimentary rites and standardizes them into permanent traditional forms. Thus magic supplies primitive man with a number of ready-made ritual acts and beliefs with a definite mental and practical technique which serves to bridge over the dangerous gaps in every important pursuit or critical situation. (32)
In this vein, Leriano does not search Laureola's letters for answers, or even reread them. As Marina Brownlee has noted, and in line with the failures in hermeneutics discussed here, Leriano's consumption of the material text is truly a dead end. Brownlee writes that "words are presented as sterile objects rather than communication, Laureola's words and their communicative function are reduced to the status of a metonym for Laureola herself--one that displaces and precludes communication--leading to death, that is, silenced words." (33) While in Froissart's prison Flos's book awaits commentary and interpretation by Rose and thus further intellectual and friendly exchange, in the Spanish prison, letters, beloved, and book become one and end up in the lover's stomach, with the only hope being that the Auctor might communicate the story to others. In addition to a metonym for Laureola, the dissolved letters also represent the threat that the romance itself might disappear.
The literary examples in Prison and Carcel of the uses of manuscript material and bookmaking rely on the mediation and actions of their very characters to create a unified book out of a wide variety of discursive forms and speech acts: allegory and personification, dreams, exegesis, poetry, and epistolary exchange above all. The romances affirm the importance of the physical presence of the medieval book and its connectedness to individual bodies and mental states. As Silvere Menegahldo notes in speaking of love as having the same quality of inspiring the poet as the patron does, there is an inseparable bond between love, lover, beloved, male companion, prison, and book: "de meme que La prison ne saurait exister sans Rose, le poete ne saurait exister sans mecene, c'est-a-dire sans l'Amour." (34) The making of the book itself is synonymous with and thereby inseparable from the very content of these narratives. The act of telling a story is portrayed as a physical act, one that is commemorated by the production of a material book to be either preserved in a coffer or eaten and stored in a dying or dead body. In both cases, the book itself is imprisoned, by a fair and amorous container in one case, and by a corpse in the other. Prison and Carcel reveal several of the intellectual and apotropaic sides of medieval manuscript culture.
These two medieval love prisons and their linking of the process of book production to the love quest of their male protagonists and their companions are two medieval literary examples in which there was no shortage of sentiment in the exchange of writings and the production of books. Further, the intellectual use of manuscript text did not always involve interpretation that yielded positive or even simply productive results, in the sense of moving a person or character's story along, whether toward love or toward death. The exchange of parchment and paper writings between intimate male friends, beyond or in the absence of communicating important messages, stories, and signatures, has the power to replace the presence of the love or to produce the outright rejection of the female beloved.
The failure of interpretation--even deep, seemingly effective interpretation--to bring about favorable change is clear from the very first scene of Carcel. Diego de San Pedro's use of ekphrasis and exegesis to create the love prison renders that prison almost but not actually physical. While these effects of physicality allow the external reader and Leriano himself to imagine a material love prison, they also show the limits of hermeneutics, in both the realms of interpreting objects of the mind and of material text. For all the details of the prison to which Leriano can assign meaning, he cannot read his way out, or, rather, encounter a physical prison that he might set his sights on escaping. As Christina Ivers notes, drawing on W. J. T. Mitchell, "ekphrasis, by its nature, annuls the possibility of literally evoking the object described... in the very absence of a concrete referent, in the tension between the effort to represent and the impossibility of representation, ekphrasis resides." (35) Leriano likewise is unable to achieve a reciprocal love with the resolute and unavailable Laureola, who proves so different from the shining woman in Desire's hand. As Barbara Weissberger has noted, it is Laureola's withdrawal from Carcel's fatal game of love that makes her victorious and also powerful in escaping the prison. (36)
In Carcel, reading and interpretation of material letters proves ineffective in the face of the love prison, or is actively stymied by interventions, be they sins of omission or addition. The sharp contrast of productive interpretation in Prison shows not only how love prisons can yield very different results for those imprisoned, but also the variety of practices that could be considered intellectual uses of manuscript material. In both prisons, the exchange of manuscript material, whether or not accompanied by hermeneutic activity that forwards the male protagonists' love quest, makes the work, in a very literal sense. The works in turn, and their component parts, which at the end of Carcel serve as clear metonymies of their wholes, are used in apotropaic ways that show another side of manuscript culture in which reading and interpretation are not necessarily the primary goals.
George Washington University
(1) Scholars in Renaissance reading and marginalia, including Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, Bradin Cormack and Carla Mazio, and William Sherman, have developed the notion of "use" to refer both to strategic gathering and collecting practices of readers and to notes that bear little connection to the text near which they were found. See Lisa Jardine and Anthony Grafton, '"Studied for Action': How Gabriel Harvey Read His Livy," Past and Present 129 (1990): 30-78; William Sherman, Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), xiii; Bradin Cormack and Carla Mazio, Book Use, Book Theory, 1500-1700 (U. of Chicago Library, 2005).
(2) Anthony Wood quoted in Ian Gilbert Philip, The Bodleian Library in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), 6. Wood uses "servile uses" in the context of the sixteenth-century treatment of antiquities at the U. of Oxford: '"The ancient libraries, a glory to the University, as containing among them many rarities, the works of our own country men, besides many matters obtained from remote places, were by them or their appointment rifled. Many MSS, guilty of no other superstition than red letters in their fonts or titles, were either condemned to the fire or jakes. Other also that treated of controversial or scholastical Divinity were let loose from their chains, and given away or sold to Mechanicks for servile uses." See Anthony Wood, The History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford in Two Books, ed. John Gutch (U. of Oxford, 1792), 106.
(3) I address the use of manuscript material for talismanic purposes in chapters 3 and 4 of my monograph, Cultures of the Fragment: Uses of the Iberian Manuscript, 1100-1600, forthcoming from the U. of Toronto Press.
(4) Ana Gomez-Bravo, Writing Culture and Social Networks in Fifteenth-Century Spain (U. of Toronto Press, 2013), 79.
(5) Gomez-Bravo, Writing Culture, 77.
(6) For a relatively recent collection of essays on the prison trope in the Middle Ages, including in Prison, see Jean-Marie Fritz, Silvere Menegaldo, and Galice Pascault, Realites, images, ecritures de la prison au Moyen Age (Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 2012). For the prison theme in relation to Carcel and other traditions, see Stephen Gilman, "The Tower as Emblem: Chapters VIII, IX, XIX and XX of the Chartreuse de Parme," in Analecta Romanica, 22 (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1967), and Marina Brownlee, The Severed Word: Ovid's Heroides and the Novela Sentimental (Princeton U. Press, 1990), 164. I am unaware of another published study that examines in detail what Prison and Carcel share.
(7) Jean Froissart, La prison amoureuse = The prison of love, ed. Lawrence De Looze (New York: Garland, 1994), xiii. While debated in terms of degree, Prison's, dependence on Guillaume de Machaut's Voir Dit (ca. 1364), like Prison written four or five years before Machaut's death, is well known. Anthime Fourrier nevertheless notes in his edition that this dependence is largely superficial, pointing out that the differences between the works is Froissart's near-obsessive attention to the writing experience (Paris: Klincksieck, 1974). For a study of Machaut's and Froissart's respective treatments of the role of the reader, see Laurence De Looze, "From Text to Text and from Tale to Tale: Jean Froissart's Prison amoureuse" in The Centre and Its Compass: Studies in Medieval Literature in Honor of Professor John Leyerle, ed. James E. Burke, Robert A. Taylor, Patricia J. Eberle, Ian Lancashire, and Brian S. Merrilees (Western Michigan U. Press, 1993), 87-110.
(8) Among other differences, the Voir Dit is composed of the exchange of letters between the protagonist and his lady. As Finn Sinclair has observed, the exchange of letters between men in Prison leads to a redirection of experience and memory away from the personal and autobiographical toward the social and collective, and the inextricable linking of experience and memory with the creation, dissemination, and glossing of text. See Finn Sinclair, "Memory and Voice in Jean Froissart's Dits amoureux," Cahiers de recherches medievales et humanistes 22 (2011): 146. For more on the relationship between the Prison and the Voir Dit, see Fourrier, Prison, 15-16, as well as Laurence De Looze, Pseudoautobiography in the Fourteenth Century (U. Press of Florida, 1997): 115-16, and Deborah McGrady, Controlling Readers: Guillaume de Machaut and His Late Medieval Audience (U. of Toronto Press, 2006): 170-71.
(9) See Sarah Jane Williams, "An Author's Role in Fourteenth-Century Book Production: Guillaume de Machaut's Live ou je met toutes meschoses" Romania 90 (1969), particularly 442-54.
(10) On generic discourses, see Bruce Wardropper, "Allegory and the Role of El Autor in the Carcel de amor" PQ 31 (1952): 39-44; Brownlee, The Severed Word; Dulce M. Garcia, Espada, escudo y espejo: El lenguaje como tema en las novelas de Diego de San Pedro (U. Press of the South, 1996), and Sol Miguel-Prendes, "Las cartas de Carcel de amor" Hispanofila 34, 3 (1991): 1-22.
(11) I thank Emily Francomano for her generosity with access to her arguments in advance of the publication of her book. See her article '"Puse un sobreescripto' [I Wrote a New Cover]: Manuscript, Print, and the Material Epistolarity of Carcel de Amor" Fifteenth-Century Studies 36 (2011): 25-38.
(12) Gomez-Bravo, Writing Culture, 62.
(13) Brownlee, Severed Word, 164; see Keith Whinnom in Diego de San Pedro, Obras completas, ed. Keith Whinnom (Madrid: Castalia, 1973) 2:52.
(14) Kibler argues that Rose's letters and poems in Prison are by Wenceslas in "Poet and Patron: Froissarts Prison amoureuse" L'Esprit Createur 18 (1978): 32-46, proposing that many poems found in the Dits are absent from Froissart's collected works. Fourrier opposes this point of view in his edition (27). In a note to "Female Readers in Froissart: Implied, Fictive and Other," Bennet notes that he rejects Kibler's thesis because it would be unlikely for Froissart to purloin the text of someone as important as Wenceslas; see Philip Bennet, "Female Readers in Froissart: Implied, Fictive and Other," in Women, the Book and the Worldly, ed. Lesley Smith and Jane H. M. Taylor (Cambridge, UK: Brewer, 1995) 13nl. For a summary of this debate, see De Looze, Pseudoautobiography, 116-17, and briefly in his edition and translation, xix-xx. For an analysis of the patron in fourteenth-century romance, see Douglas Kelly, "The Genius of the Patron: The Prince, the Poet, and Fourteenth-Century Inventions," Studies in Literary Imagination 20 (1987): 77-97. Claude Thiry's study "Allegorie et histoire" examines the links between experiences in Wenceslas's life and certain allegorical references in the Prison; see "Allegorie et histoire dans la Prison amoureuse de Froissart," Studi Francesi 61 (1977): 15-29. I am leery of biographical readings and favor De Looze's argument that in Prison, Froissart created a general homage to Wenceslas, which included the attribution of some of the poems to Wenceslas, rather than all of Rose's letters and poems.
(15) All citations from the Prison amoureuse come from Fourrier's edition. All translations of Prison are from De Looze's edition and translation, La prison amoureuse = (The prison of love) (New York: Garland, 1994). The numbers following the translation of the French are the page numbers of De Looze's edition.
(16) For more on patrons in early fifteenth-century France, see Silvere Menegaldo's essay "Les relations entre poete et mecene dans La Prison amoureuse de Jean Froissart," in Patrons, Authors and Workshops: Books and Book Production in Paris Around 1400, ed. Godfried Croenen and Peter Ainsworth (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), 239-54.
(17) It is important to note, however, that both Flos's and Rose's ladies sing poems, beginning and ending their respective works. On the presence of women in Prison and their role in poetic creation, see Brooke Heidenreich Findley, "Deadly Words, Captive Imaginations: Women and Poetic Creation in Jean Froissart's Prison Amoureuse" French Forum 32.3 (Fall 2007): 1-21.
(18) For an overview of epistolary culture in Europe and a recent bibliography on the subject, see Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti, "Letters and Letter Writing in Early Modern Culture," Journal of Early Modern Studies 3 (2014): 17-35. Amando Petrucci's Scrivere Lettere: Una storia plurimillenaria (Rome: Laterza, 2008) is a history of the letter and letter writing, including the material and technical aspects of letter production and the circulation of letters among different publics. On letters and epistolary fiction in the early modern period up to 1850, see Thomas Beebee, Epistolary Fiction in Europe (Cambridge U. Press, 1999). For a focus on the materiality of letters, see James Daybell's The Material Letter in Early Modern England Manuscript Letters and the Culture and Practices of Letter-Writing, 1512-1635 (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), which argues that studying the physical characteristics of original letters sheds as much light on epistolary culture and practices as the analysis of those letters' linguistic features or content.
(19) All citations from Carcel de amor are from Carmen Parrilla's edition: Diego de San Pedro, Carcel de amor, ed. Carmen Parrilla (Barcelona: Critica, 1995). The translations of this romance into English are those of Keith Whinnom: Diego de San Pedro, Prison of Love, trans. Keith Whinnom (Edinburgh U. Press, 1979).
(20) There is a wealth of bibliography on the Auctor and his role in the romance and impact on its reception, including the Auctor as substitute for Diego de San Pedro. Two older but seminal studies are Wardropper, "Allegory," and Peter Dunn, "Narrator as Character in the Carcel de amor" MLN 94.2 (1979): 187-99; other key studies include one on the Auctor as a means to explore the function of the author (Sandra Munjic, "Diego de San Pedro's Carcel de amor: Allegorizing the Role of Poets in a Well-Ordered State," Revista Hispanica Moderna 65.1 : 81-97), a study that builds on James Mandrell's "Author and Authority in Carcel de amor: The Role of El Auctor," Journal of Hispanic Philology 8.2 (1984): 99-122, and one on the impact of the Auctor on the process of reading itself: Lisa Voigt, "La alegoria de la lectura en Carcel de amor," La coronica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 25.2 (1997): 123-33.
(21) E. Michael Gerli, "Introduction," Studies on the Spanish Sentimental Romance, 1440-1550: Redefining a Genre, ed. Joseph J. Gwara and E. Michael Gerli (London: Tamesis, 1997), xv. See also Gerli, "Metafiction in the Spanish Sentimental Romances," in The Age of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474-1516: Literary Studies in Memory of Keith Whinnom, ed. Alan D. Deyermond and Ian R. Macpherson (Liverpool U. Press, 1989), 57-63, and Brownlee throughout, including the epilogue.
(22) Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet, "Fullness and Emptiness: Shortages and Storehouses of Lyric Treasure in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries," Yale French Studies 80 (1991): 229.
(23) Cerquiglini-Toulet, "Fullness and Emptiness," 229.
(24) Fernando Bouza, Corre manuscrito: Una historia cultural del Siglo de Oro (Madrid: Marcial Pons, Historia, 2001), 91-92.
(25) Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough: A New Abridgement from the Second and Third Editions (Oxford U. Press, 1998), chap. 3, pt. i, 26-27. For a thorough synthesis of magic in Renaissance Spain, see Eva Lara and Alberto Montaner, "Magia, hechiceria, brujeria: Deslinde de conceptos," in Sehales, portentos y demonios: La magia en la literatura y la cultura espanolas del renacimiento, ed. Eva Lara and Alberto Montaner (Salamanca: La SEMYR, 2014), 33-183.
(26) Beebee, Epistolary Fiction, 50.
(27) Eliza Zingesser, "The Value of Verse: Storytelling as Accounting in Froissart's Dit du florin" MLN USA (2010): 863.
(28) On this episode, see Cerquiglini-Toulet, "Fullness and Emptiness," 236-37; De Looze, Pseudo-Autobiography, 119-20; McGrady, Controlling Readers, 180-85; and Heidenreich Findley, Deadly Words, 10.
(29) Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet has observed the link between types of wealth and lyric composition in Froissart, calling lyric composition "stockpiling.' See Cerquiglini-Toulet, "Fullness and Emptiness," 232-33.
(30) Flos explains to Rose: "... ja soit ce cose que en ceste prison je languis attendans le grasce de ma dame, se men est la vie et li Esperance si joieuse que se le doi bien appeller amoureuse et prison, car je me rench a ma dame et me tieng son prisonnnier" (236).
(31) Several studies elucidate how this episode straddles the sacred and the profane, even the cannibalistic. Michael Gerli analyzes it with regard to Cancionero lyric, the Ars Moriendi, and Bocaccio, suggesting that Leriano engages in a "last rites" for a courtly lover; see Michael Gerli, "Leriano's Libation: Notes on the Cancionero Lyric, Ars Moriendi, and the Probable Debt to Boccaccio," MLN 96.2 (1981): 414-20. Scholars have argued that Leriano's consumption of the letters is a cannibalistic act, whether open or metaphorical. See Gerli, "Leriano's Libation," 117-18, and Joseph F. Chorpenning, "Loss of Innocence, Descent into Hell, and Cannibalism: Romance Archetypes and Narrative Unity in Carcel de Amor" Modern Language Review 87.2 (1992): 343-51, and Harriet Goldberg's "Cannibalism in Iberian Narrative: The Dark Side of Gastronomy," Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 1 (1997): 107-22.
(32) Bronsilaw Malinowski, Magic, Science and Religion, and Other Essays (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1954), 90.
(33) Brownlee, Severed Word, 172.
(34) Menegaldo, "Les relations," 253.
(35) Christina E. Ivers, "Risky Collaboration in Fifteenth-Century Printing and Carcel de Amor," La coronica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 43.2 (2015): 90.
(36) Barbara Weissberger, "The Politics of Carcel de amor" Revista de estudios hispanicos 26.3 (1992): 316.
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|Date:||Jun 22, 2017|
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